The Department of English is delighted to announce that poet James Ragan is this year’s Arts and Sciences Distinguished Visiting Poet. Spring 2010 semester, Ragan will be in residence and teaching poetry workshops for the Creative Writing program. Let’s give him a warm welcome!
Ragan is author of award-winning collections of poetry, including Too Long a Solitude (2009), In the Talking Hours (2004), Womb-Weary, The Hunger Wall, Lusions, Selected Poems, and Shouldering the World. Ragan served as the director of the University of Southern California’s Professional Writing Program for 25 years. He has read his poetry for five heads of state, including Mikhail Gorbachev and Czech President Vaclav Havel, and has been honored here and abroad as an ambassador of poetry. In 1985 he was one of three Americans, including Robert Bly and Bob Dylan, invited to perform at the First International Poetry Festival in Moscow. Ragan has performed his poetry all over the world, including Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Bangkok, London, Paris, Athens, Stockholm, Sofia, Warsaw, Moscow, Prague, and Sao Paulo; and was invited in October 2008 to give the keynote address at the World Literature Today Conference in Beijing, China. Ragan has also written for the stage and film, and worked in various production capacities on movies, including The Longest Yard, The Border, Matilda, and the Academy Award winner, The Deer Hunter. His most recent films are The Last Story of the Century (2009), based on the siege of Sarajevo, and The Shoe (2009).
In other Creative Writing program news, the Reading Series (sponsored in 2009-2010 by the College of Arts & Sciences, Creative Writing Program, and Mid-American Review) has resumed as usual, kicking off on September 3 with readings by MFA candidates Laural Adams and Matt Bell, and September 10 with poet Callista Buchen and Stephanie Marker (fiction). This coming Thursday (September 17) look for readings by Stokely Klasovsky and Catherine Templeton.
Unless otherwise noted, readings are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday evenings at Prout Chapel. All events are free and open to the public.